How To Check If your Drivers Are Up to Date
You probably already know how important software updates are. Just like updating apps and the operating system on a smartphone, updating drivers on a computer is important to ensure that each of its parts is working properly and to its fullest potential. This is especially important for your graphics card, for example, as driver updates tend to significantly improve game performance. Stick with us to see how to check if your drivers need updating.
Checking for Driver Updates on Windows
Starting with Windows 7, Windows really stepped its game up with Windows Update. Not only does it help with updates that get released for the operating systems itself, but it can also help with updating the device drivers.
On Windows 10, this service is enabled by default and can’t be turned off, but you can still check if it skipped an update by doing the following:
- Open the Start menu by clicking on the “Start” button.
- When the Start menu opens, type “Windows Update.” The search application will appear instead of the Start menu as soon as you start typing.
- Open the “Windows Update settings.”
- Click the “Check for updates” button and see if user intervention is required.
- If Windows Update manages to find new updates, the “Install now” button will appear. Click on it if you wish to install these immediately.
On Windows 7, you can find the Windows Updates application in the Control Panel, which you can access from the Start menu. On Windows versions 8 and 8.1:
- Access the Charms menu by moving your cursor all the way to the right end of the screen.
- Select “Settings.”
- Click on “Change PC settings.”
- On Windows 8, find the “Windows Update” tab. On Windows 8.1, look for “Update and recovery,” then make sure “Windows Update” is selected.
- Click “Check for updates now” (“Check now” on Windows 8.1).
- Choose the updates that you want to install, then click on the “Install” button.
Another good way to see if your device drivers are up to date without having to install third-party software is by using the Device Manager. To find it in Windows versions 8.1, and 10, right-click on the “Start” button and choose “Device Manager.“ You need to right-click the bottom-left corner of the screen on Windows 8 to find Device Manager. On Windows 7, open the Control Panel from the Start menu and find it on the list. Fortunately, the rest of the procedure is exactly the same in all these Windows versions:
- Inside the Device Manager, right-click on the device you want to check on.
- In the following pop-up menu, click “Update driver.”
- A new window will appear. Click “Search automatically for updated driver software” to see if Windows can find a newer driver for your device.
Note: The other option, “Browse my computer for driver software,” isn’t used as much. You can use it if you’ve downloaded a driver installation from the internet, but even then it is easier to install it yourself by running the executable file.
- Wait for a while until Windows reports back. If your device drivers are up to date, it’ll just notify you. If not, it will ask you if you want to update the drivers.
If you still have problems with your drivers, e.g. they’re already updated, but you still think they’re not working properly, you can try uninstalling the drivers or rolling back:
- Inside of the Device Manager, right-click on the device you want to check on.
- In the following pop-up menu, click “Properties.”
- A window with device properties will appear, showing the device status as well. Don’t forget to check for any useful information as well.
- Go to the “Driver” tab.
- Choose what you want to do with the device driver. Try going with “Roll Back Driver” to see if reverting to a previous version helps. If that fails, consider uninstalling the device, but this is an advanced action. There’s a chance that Windows won’t install the required driver automatically, in which case you’ll have to look for it yourself.
Updating Device Drivers on a Mac
Installing device drivers on a Mac is fairly straightforward, as long as Mac isn’t blocking some of the installation files:
- Click on the Apple button in the top-left corner. This will open the Apple menu.
- In the drop-down menu that follows, choose “App Store…”
- Make sure that the “Updates” tab is selected.
- You’ll notice the “Update all” and “Update” buttons if there are drivers that need updating. See if you want to update all drivers at once or if you only want to install some of them.
- Wait until your computer installs the drivers. You’ll most likely need to reboot your computer for the updates to take effect.
If Mac blocks an installation file, saying that it wasn’t downloaded from the Mac App Store, just click on ”OK,” then do the following:
- Click the Apple button in the top-left corner to open the Apple menu.
- Choose “System Preferences.”
- Select “Security & Privacy.”
- In the bottom-left corner of the window that appears, click on the Lock icon.
- If you’re prompted to enter your username and password, do that, then click “Unlock.”
- Find the message that says that the downloaded application was blocked and click on the “Open Anyway” button that’s located next to it.
- Yet another new window will appear, asking if you want to open a program that you’ve downloaded from the internet. Confirm your decision by clicking “Open.”
Take Care of Your Software
There are many reported cases of updating drivers being both good and bad for a particular computer, so it’s ultimately up to you if you want to do this. However, it’s the most common recommended course of action if you face issues with both hardware and software, so keep that in mind.
What’s your take on updating drivers and your operating system? Would you recommend others to keep them in check? Why? Why not? Let us know in the comment section below.